Another photograph from San Miguel de Allende in Mexico today, courtesy of David Tarrant. Thanks once again, DT.
This is one of those plants that has a bit of a story here at UBC Botanical Garden. When David was hosting the Canadian Gardener television show (though continuing well after), people would send in plants to David to be identified. According to David, every year someone would send in this strange, spiny plant, and every year, he and Judy Newton (the garden’s former education coordinator) would be puzzled by it until they asked Gerald Straley. Gerald would of course identify it, and then David and Judy would recall they had encountered it last year… and the year before that… and the year before that. I was witness to one of these occurrences in the early 2000s, though it was Douglas Justice identifying the plant after much puzzlement on the part of David, Judy and myself. David reports that his new hometown is surrounded by it, so that he’ll now never forget.
Buffalobur (or buffalobur nightshade or buffaloberry) is native from central Mexico north to the midwest USA, but the introduction of intensive agriculture has since helped it spread throughout much of North America. It has been introduced to other continents, where it is considered a weed (if not an invasive plant) in parts of Russia and Australia. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board has assembled a handy factsheet about Solanum rostratum.
More photographs of buffalobur can be seen via MissouriPlants.com.